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Rivera: Cam Newton had MRI on throwing shoulder

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Cam Newton avoided lobbing the ball at practice on Thursday for the second straight afternoon.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera explained why after the session, telling reporters that Carolina's starting quarterback underwent an MRI on his throwing shoulder this week, per The Charlotte Observer.

Rivera clarified that Tuesday's MRI came back clean, saying of Newton: "We're just going to bring him along. We're not going to overwork him."

Rivera also expressed confidence that Newton, who was officially limited in practice Thursday, would be ready suit up for Monday night's showdown with the Washington Redskins.

It makes sense the Panthers would give Newton as much rest as possible heading into Week 15. The signal-caller has struggled mightily of late and currently sports the worst completion percentage league-wide among qualifying passers. Hitting less than 50 percent of his throws for the fourth straight game, Newton is threatening to match Tim Tebow's ugly six-game stretch of sub-50-percent play from 2011.

With little left to fight for, it's fair to wonder if the Panthers would shut Newton down if any pain in his banged-up shoulder lingers beyond this week.

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